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English Premiership

Grant slams Premier League

LONDON, March 27- Portsmouth manager Avram Grant has claimed the Premier League's decision to place a transfer embargo on his club earlier this season effectively condemned them to relegation.Grant’s side are 14 points adrift at the bottom of the Premier League table and virtually certain to drop into the Championship after a turbulent season at Fratton Park.

Pompey, who were docked nine points for going into administration earlier this month, were hit by a transfer embargo in October that was only lifted a few days before the transfer window closed in January, leaving Grant no chance of signing new players in time.

That decision still rankles with Grant and, due to an injury crisis, he now has only 14 fit senior players as he prepares for Saturday’s trip to Tottenham.

The former Chelsea boss admits he will have to use players from the youth and reserve ranks at White Hart Lane and fears a heavy defeat against a Tottenham side who also face Portsmouth in the FA Cup semi-finals next month.

"We have 13 or 14 players for Saturday and that is not good for us or for the Premier League as a whole. We are paying the price for what they did to us before January and it’s wrong," Grant said on Friday.

"People that have forced us to have a small squad should look in the mirror and say ‘I was wrong, it was a mistake’.

"You will see what will happen in the game. We can’t compete with Tottenham."

The ban on registering players was lifted on January 26 after the Premier League were satisfied that the club had fulfilled payments to other clubs for transfers.

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Pompey were only able to bring in Ricardo Rocha before the window closed and Grant is adamant the embargo should have been lifted earlier.

"They didn’t have to do it (the embargo) in the middle of the season, now it has affected us," Grant added.

"The situation we find ourselves in now is not just as a result of us. I know that if we played like we have been doing in the second half of the league we would have been able to stay in the league if they allowed us to have the squad that we wanted.

"They didn’t create the money situation that we are in at the moment but I still don’t think their decision was right.

"I know that people within the Premier League agree with me. People ring me and say ‘you know what? you are exactly right’ but what can we do now?"

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